Archie Hume of A Hume Country Clothing considers billionaire businessman and politician Michael Bloomberg’s claim that he only owns two pairs of shoes
When I read recently that billionaire businessman, three-time New York mayor and Democratic primary candidate, Michael Bloomberg, only owned two pairs of shoes my jaw dropped open like a barn door.
Even if my disbelief was challenged by the reputable source and the quote from the big man himself, which read: ‘You do something called resoling and reheeling, you don’t have to throw them away and get new ones, you can use the old ones.’
Shifting from outright disbelief to one of admiration for his thrifty, make do and mend approach I began to wonder how many pairs of shoes a man actually needs.
For the sake of argument, I decided to exclude sports footwear on the grounds that if I was to include them, where would it all end? Waders? The first-world, middle class entitlement of heat moulded ski boots? As both a runner and a golfer, this is clearly the basis on which MB is staking his two-shoe claim, either that or he’s swinging onto the campaign trail in his trainers and golf shoes.
Even so, I’m still struggling to swallow the two-shoe claim. Possibly, if we’re just talking about business-wear but what about when he slopes off to his 35-acre estate in the Hamptons, or Bermuda beach house? Or wherever it is New York billionaires hang out on summer weekends – that for the rest of us can probably be substituted by sheltering behind a stripy windbreak at a beach BBQ, dressed head-to-toe in fleece, slurping Pimms and pretending to have fun. By the way, on this occasion, we’re wearing deck shoes or a casual equivalent.
Now, to the other end of the calendar. It gets pretty cold in New York in the winter. There’s snow. Even if he is being chauffeur driven from door to door, it seems reasonable to imagine a Manhattan friendly dress boot would be a shoo-in… as it were.
And for the rest of us, who’re not being chauffeur driven around the big apple and have to negotiate icy pavements, gravel driveways and the like, a pair of smart boots, sturdy enough to cope is a must. So, I’m unwilling to entirely exclude boots and fi nd myself two pairs up on MB.
Tagging back a bit, let’s just assume, when MB says he owns two pairs of shoes he’s talking strictly in relation to his city-based Bloomberg empire activities. I’d hazard a guess that his two pairs are something along the lines of a Derby and an Oxford, one pair black, one brown, to be worn with suitably high-end threads.
Rumour has it that MB favours classically tailored suits made by legendary Brooklyn tailor, Martin Greenfi eld. If he were lucky enough to own a classically tailored tweed suit by legendary Kelso tailor, A Hume – as every man should – he would need to add a pair of traditional brogues to his collection. Increasing the shoe tally to five pairs.
Then, there’s dog walking to consider. Even in the Bloomberg urban domestic realm dogs must be walked and MB has boasted that on his watch NY’s parks became safe enough to walk the dogs at 1am. So, what is he wearing?
Whatever it is, it’s not covered by the sporting exception – no way. Dog walking is most defi nitely not a sport, though it can be mucky, and this necessitates a pair of wellies or country boots. No ifs, no buts.
That’s it then, six pairs. That is as low as I’m willing to go, excluding sports footwear. A pair of deck, or casual shoes for summer weekend wear; a pair of smart boots for the winter; a pair of derbies; a pair of Oxfords; a pair of brogues and a pair of country boots. That should do it!
And I’d say that’s pretty conservative even if I am four pairs up on one of the world’s richest men.